GOP Campaign Finance Tactics: Harass Democratic Donors And PACs Until They Give Up

In the future, these days will be defined as the days Republican hypocrites roamed the earth, terrorizing anyone and everyone who isn't in lockstep with them. In what can only be defined as a cynical, manipulative, hypocritical move, Blue America is

In the future, these days will be defined as the days Republican hypocrites roamed the earth, terrorizing anyone and everyone who isn't in lockstep with them. In what can only be defined as a cynical, manipulative, hypocritical move, Blue America is being sued by a right-wing organization called Let Freedom Ring for allegedly coordinating independent expenditures with Nancy Pelosi.

Howie Klein:

And last week our attorney informed us that a right-wing extremist group, Let Freedom Ring, had filed what amounts to a frivolous nuisance suit against us. Let Freedom Ring's president, Colin Hanna, and counsel, Cleta Mitchell, both well-known right-wing Beltway crackpots, claim that Blue America's Independent Expenditure Committee coordinated activities with Nancy Pelosi. Although this isn't just untrue but patently absurd, it will cost of thousands of dollars to defend ourselves from the baseless accusations.

This, after millions were spent by anonymous shadow donors to defeat Democrats in the midterms, and those same shadow donor groups admitted to co-ordinating expenditures with each other.

The complaint is signed by Cleta Mitchell, Grover Norquist spokesman, anti-ACORN crusader, and current defender of Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell's campaign indiscretions. Mitchell gave a 1 1/2 hour webinar on corporate independent expenditures for Foley and Lardner's corporate clients on February 3, 2010 to educate clients of what they could now do without disclosing anything to the general public.

Despite Mitchell's stellar understanding of campaign finance law, it certainly appears that she and Let Freedom Ring accuse others of what they intentionally do. For example:

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which could not legally coordinate with the outside groups, even took the extraordinary step of publicly revealing its own ad buy strategy.

This knowledge allowed the groups to go where the party committee didn’t have the resources to attack. That way, the outsiders could “see where the holes are and figure out who is filling what holes,” Bill Miller, the Chamber’s political director, told POLITICO.

“It was especially important not to overload districts. How bad can you kill Mary Jo Kilroy?” said Miller, referring to one particularly endangered Ohio Democrat. Kilroy did indeed lose on Tuesday with far less investment from the conservative groups – about $287,000 — than in other races.

The meetings between the 30 or so GOP groups eventually came to be known as the “Weaver Terrace” sessions – named after the street where Bush adviser Karl Rove lived earlier this year, and where he hosted the first meeting to discuss the joint strategy.

It's interesting that they should mention Mary Jo Kilroy, since she was one of the Democrats the DCCC abandoned, along with Alan Grayson and Raul Grijalva. Her district was hammered with ads, including ads so packed with lies they were forced to withdraw them.

This is such typical right-wing nonsense hackery. They do what they sue. They clearly coordinated expenditures in Congressional races around the country, though they would claim they didn't coordinate with candidates, which is just nonsense, given the actions of the NRCC. Then, in an attempt to suppress donors to Democrats and also distract from their own bad-faith actions, they drop frivolous lawsuits on small PACs via front groups with a face, a name, and no specific dog in the hunt. (Read the full complaint here)

Let Freedom Ring: Who are they, really?

Let Freedom Ring was incorporated in 2004 and funded with $1 million dollars from John Templeton, Jr. though the original press release didn't disclose his involvement, reporting funding as coming from an "anonymous donor".

It was established to support faith-based candidates and projects supporting faith-based candidates. From the same press release, quoting director Colin Hanna:

"We want to reach out to patriotic Americans, especially people of faith, and encourage them not to let mud-slinging by the left turn them off to our political process," said Hanna in the press release announcing the group's formation. "We will not be simply a conservative version of MoveOn.org and The Media Fund. We will not engage in attacking Sen. Kerry the way those organizations attack President Bush."

LFR will also pursue three other projects: "We are producing a documentary about the faith of President Bush, Sen. Rick Santorum [R.-Pa.], and Sen. Zell Miller [D.-Ga.]," said Hanna. One reason these were chosen, he said is that "There are a lot of politically passive churchgoers who did not vote in 2000. You have heard the figure of four million evangelical Christians who didn't vote in 2000. I don't think that they didn't vote because of apathy. I think it is more because of disillusionment."

In 2008, Let Freedom Ring reported donations of $7,427,357, according to their federal disclosures. Their 2008 targets were Card Check, "Big Government" and of course, abortion. Out of a total of $6.8 million spent, nearly $5 million was spent on the first two campaigns with less than a million spent on their anti-abortion campaign. Pretty small change for a so-called faith based organization.

The organization is located at 603 Fairway Drive, West Chester, PA, Here is a Google street view image of that address:

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As you can see, it's right smack in the middle of what appears to be a golf course. A search on the address yielded the following businesses located at the same address:

Let Freedom Ring also made independent expenditures in the midterm elections. Their single disclosed donor was Swiftboat donor John M. Templeton, Jr. Altogether, Templeton donated around $200,000 or so to fund ads against Harry Reid in Nevada through the Let Freedom Ring organization. In addition, a Let Freedom Ring PAC was created and on October 28th, filed an amended statement of purpose indicating their plan to collect unlimited, undisclosed contributions for the purpose of funding independent expenditures against candidates.

In addition to his activities with Let Freedom Ring, Colin Hanna also serves on the board of Coalitions for America, an organization whose stated purposes are "bringing organizations together to discuss policy", and conducting "meetings and conferences of over 300 different business, defense and social issues groups." Coalitions for America's national chairman was Paul Weyrich, until his death in December, 2008. Weyrich was also a co-founder of the Heritage Foundation and the Free Congress Foundation. Cleta Mitchell also serves on the board of Coalitions for America with Colin Hanna, and has since 2008.

A circle of money and hypocrisy...

Listen to Cleta Mitchell's barely-contained glee when she presents all the options available to corporate money machines back in February. She lets them know just how much they can do on the Internet, with movies, ads, books and any other media they choose. She encourages them to explore how they'd like to invest their corporate funds to further conservative causes. Meanwhile, Colin Hanna raises the flag of Constitutional Purity with his Mount Vernon statement at the same time Mitchell is doing the hard sell on big bucks to Republicans.

Finally, in the midterms, nearly half of all independent expenditures were from undisclosed donors, coordinated through groups like American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS, and other shadow organizations fully known to Cleta Mitchell via her associations with Foley & Lardner and board duties with Coalitions for America.

These are the people going after Blue America for some imagined coordination with Nancy Pelosi? Never mind that Blue America went directly counter to Pelosi and the DCCC strategy of supporting BlueDogs, and also disclosed everything. When did logic matter to Republicans?

There is nothing more cynical than a Republican accusing their opponent of what they themselves do. It happens constantly, but this time it's personal. Blue America will be forced to spend money on legal fees to defend themselves from Mitchell's baseless charges. If you can help, please consider doing so.

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